2 years ago I finally caved into Netflix. Since then, Kelli (one of my four roommates) and I have shared an account that's under my name. However, since she's been in school, she doesn't get a chance to watch all of the movies I rent. However, since she wants to see a lot of the movies I do (and almost always says "I want to see that" when she sees what I've rented), I've told her the past six months that I'd make a list of the movies she should watch.So here goes: The top ten with three honorable mentions.
The Battle of Algiers: I knew it was good. I had no idea it would affect me as much as it did. Shot in black and white using actors to reenact part of the war of independence of French Algeria, and shows atrocities committed by both sides in the struggle. This is a must see.
Becket: I'm a little in love with Peter O'Toole, and after this film I'm a lot in love with him. A show about the despotic scoundrel Henry II(O'Toole) and what happened when he appointed his best friend as the arch bishop of Canterbury. The leads shine, and I gained new admiration for Richard Burton after this.
Maria Full of Grace: Unsympathetic (to a point), unbiased (as much is it can be) this film simply tells the story of a Columbian drug mule. Touching and one that you ponder upon long after the credits roll.
The Third Man: With a script by the always fabulous Graham Greene and set in one of my favorite time periods (filmed in Europe directly after World War II), this film is one of the best noirs I've ever seen.
End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones: So, what do you get when your core band members are a heroin addict, a man diagnosed with OCD and a card carrying member of the NRA?
Network: "I'm mad as hell and can't take it anymore." You know how there's films or books that are almost prerequisites for being an informed member of society? This is one of them.
Grizzly Man: What sets this apart and is what haunts me to this day is the darker side of Timothy Treadwell. One of the greatest documentaries I have ever seen.
Patton: A character study masquerading as a war film. Patton is crazy, but that adjective doesn't begin to describe his intelligence, quirky idealism, and the attributes that make him a sort of tragic figure if you will. Another great film.
Lillies of the Field: I'm not as familiar with Sidney Poitier as I should be and this film about a disillusioned war vet being out maneuvered by a German nun in the desert of California took me by surprise. I knew it was good, I had no idea how great it was.I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco: This is the documentary that put Jeff on the mainstream radar. Great film, performances are great...and it doesn't hurt that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is one of my all-time favorite albums.
The General (Silent) Buster Keaton is a champ. Surprisingly sophisticated and wry. Yeah, its silent but its also one of the best comedies of all time.
The U.S. vs. John Lennon: Even though Yoko is one of the producers, I think its a pretty good source for information about John Lennon's involvement with the peace movement. The footage is fascinating, the interviews intriguing, and the story is strong. Especially for those of us who weren't born when all of this was going on.
Why We Fight: I read an article where Christopher Guest proclaimed this as the best documentary he's ever seen. I'd disagree, I think there's a couple on this list alone that are stronger overall, but its good. It had me until the last fifteen or so minutes but still definitely worth seeing.